if you had money what would you do for space in general

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MeteorWayne":cbimw94x said:
That's an excellent use of 100K, thanx alp!
I wouldn't aim to young if your talking about making a lasting impact. I'd stick to high school students at the least. It's alot easier for someone to keep an experience they had in high school, than one they had as a kid. Plus high school stuff can trikle down to the younger kids however it don't work to well the other way around.


Skyskimmer":dbb3djrm said:
I wouldn't aim too young if your talking about making a lasting impact. I'd stick to high school students at the least. It's alot easier for someone to keep an experience they had in high school, than one they had as a kid. Plus high school stuff can trickle down to the younger kids however it don't work to well the other way around.

Skyskimmer raises a good point. I'm going to use a related (in some cases, prerequisite?) discipline to illustrate my comment. Full disclosure - I push electrons for a living, and I own a "hole in the sky, into which I throw money", commonly known as an airplane..... So I have at least two sources of bias. Only one source of income, though.

Some background: various organizations (COPA in Canada, EAA in the US, there are similar organizations other countries) periodically organize introductory flights for children (COPA4Kids, Young Eagles, etc.). It's no secret - these are shameless "recruiting drives", to get kids interested in aviation. Call it applied Jesuit philosophy - get 'em young enough, they're yours for life..... :)

While the little beggars aren't instantly transformed into pilots, they are given a chance to experience something out of the ordinary, are shown something that they themselves could achieve, and they get a photo and a certificate to hang on the wall, so there are some tangible results to remind them. Fly 'em early enough, and the ones we want will pre-select themselves. These introductory flights are supposed to be a one-time thing, but I don't look too closely - the first flight is the "launch"; the subsequent flight(s) are the "mid-course correction(s)" for the ones that survived launch. And I get to go flying, too.....

The scientific/technical disciplines need something similar to this, something that can compete with popular "culture". This is no longer the early 20th century, so the "romance of flying" is no longer going to cut it all by itself - flying is too commonplace. Any schmuck can now buy a ticket on a jetliner and expect to arrive on time, intact (luggage, we're still working on....). Aviation has recognized the need to actively recruit among the young - aviation is a discipline that requires a lifetime to fully master, so start early. Thus, the introductory flights for children. While the aviation world's success at recruiting may not be as stellar as we pilots would like, the technique does show at least some positive results.

Science (and engineering, which is "merely" - don't shoot me - applied science) is similarly a victim of its own success; any schmuck can make use of the results of others' efforts. There hasn't really been any effort by the sciences comparable to aviation's to recruit new blood, however. Somehow, the "science fair" approach just doesn't cut it. For most children, the concept of lab work is too abstract, and let's face it, much lab work is simply boring repetition to confirm results, which is a hard sell at any age. And causing a color change through some chemical reaction is not as spectacular as lift-off; face it, we are not recruiting among a population concerned with subtlety.....

Aside from not being a visible sort of activity (pilots "do" something), I think the science fair approach pre-selects too late, and too hard. By the time the "lab-rats" are serious about participating in the science fair approach, you've already winnowed out all but the hard-core. Yes, you do want the hard-core ones, but you've thrown out a lot of salvageable talent in the meantime, and numbers do count. And it's a very long way from the science fair to the doctorate.

Aviation, as a distinct discipline, has a lot of "marketing" advantages. It is both technical and demanding, but visible recognizable achievement is within the reach of any sufficiently-motivated "week-end warrior". The aviation industry attempts to use its now-commonplace nature as a strength; not all pilots are going to be airline captains, but there are a lot of privately-own aircraft out there. Since much of electronics and space-flight was driven by/derived from the needs of aviation, perhaps science/engineering should (be) more visibly hook(ed) up with flight in the classroom, with an emphasis on general aviation, not just the "heavy iron". There isn't an cosmo-/astro-/taikonaut yet who hasn't spent time in a light airplane - they all started at the same place I did (on the ground); they just went further.

So take a high-school physics course, use aviation to show a practical application of science, and re-inforce the connection with a familiarization flight. Use a general aviation aircraft as the model, because it is common enough that you can follow up with "the real thing", allowing the students to see the reality of the discussion, an aircraft conceivably within reach of the majority of the students. You might be able to arrange a discount at the local flight school (they do offer short - cheaper - familiarization flights, to entice student pilots); you might find that the local COPA, EAA, etc. chapter would be willing to donate the time and fuel for free, in return for the recognition (we kinda do that now, on a limited scale). On that basis, your $100K goes a lot further....


I would donate it to Mars Society Australia, distributed across technical projects, operating costs, education programs, and student prizes.



The document gives hope to the masses that satellites can be done by small hobby or education groups. With the likelihood of 5 Falcon 9 flights a year, 100 to 500kg of secondary payload availability per flight, and 1/4 the weight being allocated to the small <5kg satellites so that 5 to 25 cubesat size satellites could be launch each flight along with 1 to 5 >50kg satellites. That’s 25 to 125 cubesats a year.


I looked up the P-POD or cube sat and what features and hardware kits were available and with <$75,000 a full functioning satellite with attitude control could be done by an organization or collage. Then another $30,000 to $50,000 would be needed for the launch costs of a 1 to 5kg satellite. More than half the cost is the payload integration processing at the pad.

CubeSat Kits remind me of the days of the S-100 bus kit computers of the early 1980’s. You got the parts and then had to assemble it and program it. It is possible for a CubeSat to be built and launched for less than $100k. If you could build your own private satellite and launch it into orbit what would you do with it? What scientific or engineering experiment would you do?

If 10,000 people created their own personal satelite then there would be an additional 1 billion in Space business and about 300 milion in launch business.


Wait for the price of a suborbital flight to reach 100k and purchase a ride.
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